Nigel Lythgoe: “I Don’t Want Them Every Day Behind the Bloody Guitar”

Will there be a major rule change this season regarding the use of instruments on American Idol? Nigel hints, maybe yes.

Nigel Lythgoe tells People magazine:

“People sort of lost a little bit behind instruments. I see no reason why we won’t use guitars and pianos at least once or twice across the season, but I don’t just want them everyday behind the bloody guitar.”

Instruments aren’t the problem! The problem is CASTING. Cast the show well, make the kids the focus of the show, let their talents shine through and you’ll have a show, Nigel….

He also says, in so many words, that Jennifer Lopez will be the toughest of the three judges.

“Randy has become very, very positive, ” said Lythgoe. “Jennifer actually critiques what’s in front of her. She doesn’t just throw out glib remarks. She listens, she weighs it up and then she says how she feels. Then I think with Steven, who doesn’t have a bad bone in his body, finds it very difficult to say ‘you suck’ to anybody.”

Also, forget guest mentors and judges:

“I’m not sure I’m going to use any guest judges, to be frank, ” he said. “We’ve got an entire record company behind it now with Interscope. We’ve got Jimmy Iovine and all of his producers . . . You’ve got real professionals here. I don’t know why I need anyone else. They’ll just get in the way.”

Jimmy Iovine’s role on Idol is going to really add a different dynamic to the show. It’ll be interesting to watch.

About mj santilli 33689 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

62 Comments

  1. Idol, I want you to succeed. I really do. But all of these changes are making me VERY nervous.

    The problem with the instruments lie with the contestants that just aren’t very good-with or without an instrument. You can’t tell me that contestants who truly shined behind their instruments (David C, Matt G, Casey, Kris) lost something because of it. Get contestants that will wow us, with a guitar or not, and we’ll have something to be excited about.

    And also, shouldn’t one of the criteria for a new judge be that he/she can be honest to a contestant, even if it means saying they’re not good?

    Like I said, I’m nervous.

  2. Ugh. I mostly hate what I’m hearing about the new season :/ We’ll see.

    The lack of instruments (all the time) is a good move. IMO the show became less about singing ever since they were introduced. And WAAYYY less about actually working the stage and the crowd. I’m all for returning more to the singing/performing roots of the show. Sure, use an instrument every now and then, but not too much (like last year).

    I hate the producer as mentor angle, though. Especially with the tie to Interscope. IDK, but that just looks like over-manipulation to the extreme with the show, rather than just letting the musicians express themselves and adapt to the themes and critiques.

    I also think it will be very boring if we just have this Iovine guy as mentor every week – no variety, no extra bit of interest. And, even if he really knows his stuff, he will essentially be trying to create some manufactured hitmaker for his company. Somehow that leaves me cold, and takes out some of the heart and soul of the show. IDK. We’ll see how it goes…

  3. Forget casting! If they would just ensure that the Top 24 is made up of the best 12 singers/performers each from females and males who audition back stories notwithstanding, then I think the other “problems” would take care of themselves.

  4. I don’t like what I’m hearing from Nigel about the judges. They need someone to anchor that panel whose opinion the listeners would really care about and the only one who has the credentials to do it IMO is Steven Tyler because JLO isn’t really known for her vocals and if she decides to criticize the contestants harshly I feel like the audience would go against her, pretty much what happened with Kara. If Tyler doesn’t step up his game then we could be in a Ellen 2.0 situation.

    Jimmy Iovine’s role on Idol is going to really add a different dynamic to the show. It’ll be interesting to watch.

    Yes, that twist is what I’m looking forwards the most. Frankly, he is the one that should be on the panel instead of Randy.

  5. Nigel has totally ticked me off. I happen to enjoy people who play instruments. He seems unaware of the fact that the majority of successful artists actually play instruments. Not to say you NEED to play an instrument to be successful, as obviously you don’t. But why insult the contestants who do — and risk alienating viewers who actually ENJOY seeing people play instruments? It’s just dumb. Very few of the contestants “hide” behind instruments — the successful ones (Cook, Kris, etc) proved to be just fine when they put the instruments down

  6. Uncle Nigel always had questionable taste. And he is driving SYTYCD into a cheesy mess, which the tour was even more indicative of. The only time I payed attention to Idol was when they started showcasing musicians who could play and arrange music. Now they are going back to the Star Search format count me out.

  7. I have absolutely no problem with them limiting the instruments. They should do this, because the good ones will shine just as much without a guitar, piano, etc. My favorite David Cook performance was Billie Jean, and it was made all the more powerful because it was just Cook and the mic.

    I say, make them show the audience what they can do when it’s just a stage and a mic

  8. I wouldn’t mind the guitars if the contestants had a bit of the talent demonstrated by Jimi Hendrix, or Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Eric Clapton. Or could play and sing like Elton.

    It’s that the guitar playing on idol has been little more than fair…no one has stood out as playing “well”. I would rather see someone relate to a song and demonstrate connectivity with the audience…then see them with their head bent strumming elementary chords.

  9. I don’t think they’re handling the instrument thing right because they’re treating it as such a negative. It can be an asset if used properly. Like why not have a rule where you can only play an instrument every other week. It’s not organic in that you should be able to play if it’s essential to your interpretation of the song. But at least that would give the people who can play the chance to prove they can just sing too.

  10. It’s that the guitar playing on idol has been little more than fair…no one has stood out as playing “well”. I would rather see someone relate to a song and demonstrate connectivity with the audience…then see them with their head bent strumming elementary chords.

    I think that’s not fair to Casey, he is more than the typical guitar strummer and can really play. But the judges need to call out the people who use their instruments as props and not only look at it in a positive way.

  11. I would rather see someone relate to a song and demonstrate connectivity with the audience…then see them with their head bent strumming elementary chords.

    This is sort of my feeling as well. I have nothing against instruments at all.. but for me when the ‘status’ or allure of instrument playing over shadows vocal ability and stage presence, then I take issue with it. (*see ‘whats-his-pretty-face’ that play guitar S9 and was the object of Kara’s hormones) S9 was a product of poor casting and an over emphasis on musicians.

    On a lighter note, If they want a 15 year old to win.. they better cancel those instruments now. ;)

    ETA: Oh yeah Casey was his name! I completely forgot. He was a great guitar player.. lousy vocalist.

  12. I say, make them show the audience what they can do when it’s just a stage and a mic

    They should be able to do whatever they’re best at, IMO. That’s one reason I hate when AI themes try to press singers into genres that don’t permit their true abilities to shine through. Talents are rare that can’t be forced into mediocrity by illogical rules.

  13. Better contestants who can perform with our without an instrument is what they need. David Cook would have won idol without playing his guitar. He could do both and had plenty of peformances without guitar and when he did play he mixed it up with electric or acoustic. I’m all for instruments when the song/performance is enhanced by it, but last season was MAJOR overkill with contestants not wanting to put down the acoustic guitar.

  14. Very few of the contestants “hide” behind instruments — the successful ones (Cook, Kris, etc) proved to be just fine when they put the instruments down

    Nigel is an annoying git. He keeps droning on the guitars, trying to point attention away from the producer’s casting missteps.

    It still comes back to the casting, as it always will. Artists who know who they are and what they can do will also know when use of an instrument serves the song, and when it doesn’t. Some have proven that – no need to re-iterate here.

    No one has time to bust out solos in 90 seconds of singing -not the point – it’s accompaniment that can’t be screwed with on stage….but the children they are so excited to cast? That’s where trainwrecks could lie in wait – because they haven’t had time to learn who they are, they are susceptible to every pressure that Idol will offer to be who TPTB tell them they are.

    That’s what gets ugly.

    IMO. Of Course.

  15. The best contestants can shine without playing an instrument — David Cook and Kris Allen both gave standout performances doing this (for example – Billie Jean and Falling Slowly). The whole “hide behind the guitar” thing is insulting to the past contestants who have proven they can perform with or without an instrument. And who’s to say that someone standing up on stage just holding a mic or trying to “dance” has any more stage presence than someone playing an instrument? It’s a big fat generalization — there have been a whole lot of boring AI contestants who never played an instrument on the show

  16. And who’s to say that someone standing up on stage just holding a mic or trying to “dance” has any more stage presence than someone playing an instrument?

    I agree.. but those folks seem to me to be cut sooner (and appropriately) than those playing an instrument. YMMV

    ETA: Its kinda like the audience gives instrument players brownie points or a little more latitude to suck. IDK.. just my opinion.

  17. The last Idol winner that I am a fan of is Jordin Sparks and she won season 6, the last season without the instruments. So I’m all for very limited use of instruments.

  18. The lack of instruments (all the time) is a good move. IMO the show became less about singing ever since they were introduced. And WAAYYY less about actually working the stage and the crowd. I’m all for returning more to the singing/performing roots of the show. Sure, use an instrument every now and then, but not too much (like last year).

    I don’t remember Katie or Aaron using an instrument, but neither really knew how to connect with the audience or their songs. Not everybody who plays an instrument is going to hide behind it, and their are plenty of people who know how to work the audience and connect to a song while standing perfectly still. It’s more about using their vocals to deliver a song’s message, and not about acting like they are on Broadway or on Glee.

    Personally, I felt like too many of last year’s performers thought that they were doing musical theater, and that they were playing a part, instead of showing people that they could sing songs that would actually get played on the radio.

  19. I agree.. but those folks seem to me to be cut sooner (an appropriately) than those playing an instrument. YMMV

    ETA: Its kinda like the audience gives instrument players brownie points or a little more latitude to suck. IDK.. just my opinion.

    I agree with this too. And though there were great Billie Jean and Falling Slowly moments for Cookie and Kris, there’s an also horrible ‘without their instrument’ moment for someone else who IS hiding behind the guitar. It evens the playing field.

    I’m glad to see they are limiting the instrument use this year.

  20. I think that AI should use the instruments as part of the strategy .

    Let’s say that whoever can play instruments can only use them 4 times during Idol top 12 performances.
    If that person already play them during the first 4 weeks and somehow he got deeper to the rounds, he used up his allocated instrument-playing already. It will be him and the mic the rest of the way.

    On the other hand, some WGWG who wants to save his guitar until the later rounds, will take a chance that the audience won’t vote for him, he got kicked out thus he’ll miss using his guitar playing and won’t be able to show what he is capable of doing.

  21. Nigel never answers the interesting questions – if anybody is actually asking them, that is, instead of focusing on his deflective guitar issues.

    Who is the new Bandzilla? Will they pull the musicians back out of the rafters so the contestants can hear them? Have there been improvements to the sound system, or is a show ostensibly about singing still tottering along with messed up feeds and mics that die?

    Speaking of mics – if he wants people moving around the stage, have they invested in wireless mics, a camera man who can actually (fixed) follow a follow spot, or eliminated the ‘dead zones’ on stage so they don’t have to worry so much about about hitting their marks?

    Production values could be better than they have been, if anyone is paying attention – spend a few of those Ad MuchBucks for an upgrade, ya know? And some fresh songs too – that would be good. Oh, and buy a stopwatch.

    For this well-selected cast we are anticipating, *snark* – that has more to do with how the artist comes across to the TV audience than random instrument use will.

    But Nigel ain’t talking about any of that…so he’s giving us Lip Service. Nothing but buzz – no substance.

    IMO. Of Course.

  22. Who is the new Bandzilla? Will they pull the musicians back out of the rafters so the contestants can hear them?

    Didn’t they say that the contestants will work with well known producers, such as Timbaland? Maybe they will sing to backing tracks again and there will be no Bandzilla?

  23. Speaking of mics – if he wants people moving around the stage, have they invested in wireless mics, a camera man who can actually work a follow spot, or eliminated the ‘dead zones’ on stage so they don’t have to worry so much about about hitting their marks?

    Production values could be better than they have been, if anyone is paying attention – spend a few of those Ad MuchBucks for an upgrade, ya know? And some fresh songs too – that would be good. Oh, and buy a stopwatch.

    THIS… THIS.. THIS.. THIS… THIS

  24. It was only in the last season that the guitar playing became dominant and the contestants didn’t seem to be able to do a performance without one.

    Season 7, in the top three only Cook played the guitar and he didn’t play it every performance (in fact most of his best remembered songs were without it). Of the top 6, I believe 3 were guitar players and only Jason pretty much always played it?

    Season 8, only Kris in the top 4 played guitar. And the most successful after Idol was Adam, who doesn’t play an instrument.

    Last season was dull, because there were just too many of the same type of performer and too many of them lacked performance/connection skills full stop.

    That said, I don’t object at all to the use of instruments being limited on AI. It gives the contestants a chance to show what they can do without and (as with Cook and Kris) draws the claws of the ‘can’t perform/sing without it’ argument.

  25. Jennifer actually critiques what’s in front of her. She doesn’t just throw out glib remarks.

    That’s a dig at Simon…

    Steven, who doesn’t have a bad bone in his body, finds it very difficult to say ‘you suck’ to anybody

    Another possible Simon dig? Or Nigel’s just very busy prepping everyone that there won’t be a Simon replacement…

    I would rather see someone relate to a song and demonstrate connectivity with the audience…then see them with their head bent strumming elementary chords.

    I take your point, but who says a performer can’t relate to a song and demonstrate connectivity with an audience with an instrument? One of the first times I was moved by an AI performance (I only started watching in earnest in S7) was Brooke White’s Let It Be behind the keys. Brooke is a pretty good piano player, but she’s not a virtuoso (and not as fun to watch play as someone like Matt G), and she often played pretty simple chords to accompany her songs– yet she pulled off several performances with piano that were very connected. I don’t think a contestant needs to be better guitar/piano players than John Mayer or Ben Folds to accompany themselves in a performance and make it work. Just as I don’t think a contestant needs to dance better than Usher or be able to pull off performance art like Lady Gaga to have a big production pop/dance type number that works, if that’s what they’re going for.

    • And who’s to say that someone standing up on stage just holding a mic or trying to “dance” has any more stage presence than someone playing an instrument?

    Exactly. The problem is lack of stage presence and static performances, not the guitar or piano. Idol is a TV show, not a radio show, and the audience needs something visually and musically stimulating and not cringe-worthy (though the occasional early trainwreck is very amusing). We also need contestants that last to mix it up—strumming a mid-tempo ballad on an acoustic guitar EVERY week will get old the same way screaming your way down the big stairs every week would (I liked Siobhan a lot, but some weeks, not so much). Last season’s contestants were just overall such boring performers with or without their guitars that I felt like I was watching the same thing every week. When they tried to switch it up, and get out of their box, like Andrew Garcia, or Didi, they floundered worse. It was very disappointing.

  26. And WAAYYY less about actually working the stage and the crowd.

    AI has never been about working the stage and the in studio crowd, though, really. With instruments or without. It’s always mostly been about working the camera and the audience at home. The trick is to utilize your musicianship while still working the camera and not getting lost in your instrument.

    Also? UGG. To me, this is something you influence behind the scenes, ie encouraging them to switch it up and use the instrument when it adds to the performance, not use it when it would be a detractor, and, as MJ said, with casting singers who get that the game has to be played a certain way and it’s all about making good television. I just find this hiding behind the guitar stuff hypocritical from the guy who was part of the show that perfected the glory note 360 degree camera angle pimpage. Which, you know, was all about a guy or girl with a big voice who could hold a note really long while standing behind the mike and not moving. For me, the instruments added a dynamic that was different from the same old belty mcbelterson formula. There are more options, you can self accompany or not, and change up the instruments you use. This should ultimately be the singer’s artistic choice determined by song selection, not a producer mandate, ie this is the week you can use an instrument if you choose. Otherwise instruments almost become a theme week type of thing.

    Maybe they will sing to backing tracks again and there will be no Bandzilla?

    That would be totally de-evolving from a more impressive higher budget show back into a cheaper and even cheesier show, though, really.

  27. imo there’s no problem with instruments. Same people last season without instruments wouldn’t have had more interesting performances!

  28. JLO isn’t really known for her vocals and if she decides to criticize the contestants harshly I feel like the audience would go against her, pretty much what happened with Kara

    ITA, it’s sad but true that it will be difficult for a woman to play the “tough judge” role without getting the *bitch* label. And JLo coming into the show with a Diva rep will play right into that if she isn’t super careful.

    Who is the new Bandzilla? Will they pull the musicians back out of the rafters so the contestants can hear them? Have there been improvements to the sound system, or is a show ostensibly about singing still tottering along with messed up feeds and mics that die?

    Speaking of mics – if he wants people moving around the stage, have they invested in wireless mics, a camera man who can actually work a follow spot, or eliminated the ‘dead zones’ on stage so they don’t have to worry so much about about hitting their marks?

    Production values could be better than they have been, if anyone is paying attention – spend a few of those Ad MuchBucks for an upgrade, ya know? And some fresh songs too – that would be good. Oh, and buy a stopwatch.

    So much word to this Incipit

  29. I take your point, but who says a performer can’t relate to a song and demonstrate connectivity with an audience with an instrument?

    Sma11ie – I’m not the OP but I think the S9 crew missed out on some grow opportunities by sticking with what was comfortable..sort of like a security blanket.

    Mtlfan:
    11/08/2010 at 5:39 pm
    imo there’s no problem with instruments. Same people last season without instruments wouldn’t have had more interesting performances!

    I agree, but we’ll never know with some of them, which is sad.

  30. Sma11ie – I’m not the OP but I think the S9 crew missed out on some grow opportunities by sticking with what was comfortable..sort of like a security blanket.

    I don’t think a lot of the season 9 people grew, but I also don’t think that taking away their instruments would have spurred them into making changes. At the start of the top 12, Jim Cantiello reported that all the contestants knew that they needed to improve, so it’s not like they were blind to the problems, they just decided not to do anything about them.

  31. I can’t imagine them limiting instruments. I think it’s insulting to the audience/voters. I want to know who has the savvy and wherewithall to figure out the strategic moments when either accompanying themselves, or in a case like Adam, when just simply sitting on a stool, is the best way to connect and show what they can do. I like the “cover the stage” Adam, but found “Mad World” and “Tracks of my Tears” Adam pretty special, too. If Kris had been limited, and used up his chances to play guitar, “Heartless” may never have had the impact it did, with Kris alone with his acounstic guitar. That was a real moment, and I’d hate to have the interference of the producers deprive us of future moments like that.

    If you like someone who plays an instrument, vote for them. If you think they’re hiding behind that instrument, vote for someone else. It’s as simple as that.

  32. If you like someone who plays an instrument, vote for them. If you think they’re hiding behind that instrument, vote for someone else. It’s as simple as that.

    THIS!!!!

  33. larc:
    11/08/2010 at 3:08 pm

    Forget casting! If they would just ensure that the Top 24 is made up of the best 12 singers/performers each from females and males who audition back stories notwithstanding, then I think the other “problems” would take care of themselves.

    I agree larc. Its not about limiting instruments or having more moving around the stage – nothing matters more than having the best there- no matter what style they are. What the idols need to do is “connect” with the words of the song & I am worried with there being so many 15/16 year olds that they will not be able to do that mainly because they haven’t “lived” it.
    I am a little concerned that the way Nigel is talking -the Producers seem to be going to have even more say .
    The judges often get the flack for putting certain people through but often they are forced into it & this year it seems that Nigel & others want a certain amount of young ones through so therefore more trainwrecks because of nerves!!Every now & again there will be a fantastic young performer but they are not the majority mainly due to lack of experience.
    So I will watch AI to see what happens. I hope I am pleasantly surprised but I wont hold my breath!!

  34. I just find this hiding behind the guitar stuff hypocritical from the guy who was part of the show that perfected the glory note 360 degree camera angle pimpage. Which, you know, was all about a guy or girl with a big voice who could hold a note really long while standing behind the mike and not moving. For me, the instruments added a dynamic that was different from the same old belty mcbelterson formula.

    True– my early season exposure is limited to the random youtubeys of the “moments” I’ve looked up, but I found a lot of the early season moments to be all about singing in one place. I love flove flove Kelly Clarkson, and find her concerts most enjoyable, but she mainly stands there and sings for like 75% of her shows, even her fast songs. But I find her standing still performances to be dynamic. It’s not about mobility– it’s presence. You can give S9 contestants wireless head mics til you litter the stage with them, and a lot of them would still be static performers. Also I find the instruments, in the right hangs, make the performances MORE dynamic. In the wrong hangs, less.

  35. Aw, they picked to many of the same kind of people last year. So it was a boring year. Must be them damn guitars fault.

    Not like it could be the producer’s who picked the “cast” for the show’s fault…….Naw, couldn’t be.

  36. Nigel isn’t saying he he going to remove instruments from the show, just that he is going to limit their use. That is fine by me.

  37. Last year the producers wanted the “next Taylor Swift” and they cast all acostic singer/songwriter types in an effort to make that happen. This year they want the “next Jason Bieber” so we will get a bunch a teens that “dont connect with the song or know where they are as an artist”. Why don’t they cast the best in their representive areas (ie country, rock, pop) and let American pick who is best overall.That is what I loved about season 7. There was a mesh of everything and someone for everyone. They need to quit looking for clones and find the new superstar

  38. Aw, they picked to many of the same kind of people last year. So it was a boring year. Must be them damn guitars fault.

    Not like it could be the producer’s who picked the “cast” for the show’s fault…….Naw, couldn’t be.

    unidentified – Of course not – them damn evil guitars made them do it! Just let Uncle Nigel esplain it all to you!! Bwahaha! (and other evil laughter)

  39. Elliegrll:
    11/08/2010 at 5:56 pm

    Sma11ie – I’m not the OP but I think the S9 crew missed out on some grow opportunities by sticking with what was comfortable..sort of like a security blanket.

    I don’t think a lot of the season 9 people grew, but I also don’t think that taking away their instruments would have spurred them into making changes. At the start of the top 12, Jim Cantiello reported that all the contestants knew that they needed to improve, so it’s not like they were blind to the problems, they just decided not to do anything about them.

    THIS. Hitting the nail on the head. Taking away their instruments would not have spurred them into making changes. The major problem with S.9 wasn’t casting, it wasn’t instruments, it was a complete lack of drive among the contestants. There was no one contestant on TV every week trying to push themselves father, and inspiring the others to push themselves farther in the process.
    In the prior seasons there was someone doing unexpected things, pushing the boundaries of what they, or the show, could do. And that pushing, that growing a changing week after week was what made the show fun to watch. And I’m not just talking Adam or Cook. I’m talking about Taylor Hicks giving an example week after week to the other competitors on stage showmanship. I’m talking about Bo singing “FreeBird” and Constantine singing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I’m talking about Blake beat boxing. Their boundary pushing, and their drive to push themselves gave an example to the others to do the same. There was no one in season nine who felt any need to push themselves or drive forward. THAT was the main problem that needs to not happen again.

  40. It’s not about mobility– it’s presence. You can give S9 contestants wireless head mics til you litter the stage with them, and a lot of them would still be static performers. Also I find the instruments, in the right hangs, make the performances MORE dynamic. In the wrong hangs, less.

    Exactly. And presence is all about casting the right people. I’d like to hit Nigel over the head with a guitar or a keyboard and then ask him if he finds that boring, LOL.

  41. Aw, they picked to many of the same kind of people last year. So it was a boring year. Must be them damn guitars fault.

    So did the guitars get final choice on who made Top 24? Must have been those stupid Gibsons voting as a bloc. Maybe this year, they should have the pianos decide. I heard Steinways are really good at spotting talent in the earlier rounds. The drums are pretty savvy talent scouts too, I hear.

  42. Maybe you’re right, Keel. The pianos have the key to the Top 24 choices- but the guitars were pulling strings! Just a shame the drums couldn’t make themselves heard – dead mics, do you think? Everyone takes the mics’ vote for granted – sneaky little bastiges, though.

    *wink*

  43. I liked the show best when it was a singing show without the pretensions of finding an “artist”. When instruments were introduced that changed.

    I don’t have a problem with instruments in moderation but I’d rather they be reserved until the end. If you can make it maybe to Top 5 then give them the option once. Make it Top 2 and they can use them once more. Consider it a reward for advancing that far on the strength of their vocals. It’d solve the endless debates about people advancing just because of their instrument, put focus back on singing or the important things like how cute the audience finds them. Kidding about the latter but the audience has never only based their decisions on vocals.

  44. I am glad they are limiting instruments. I really feel that vocals matter most on Idol. Great vocals and the ability to connect with the audience. That is what Kelly had. I think all the winner up through Season 7 were really strong singers. Season 7 was sort of a transitional year. You had strong vocalists who could play instruments, like David Archuleta and Cook(his growly voice was usually on key and he really had good tone as well). Season 8 winners are notably weaker vocalists. I think the instruments now carry weaker singers further than they would go otherwise. I really hope the show goes back to putting emphasis on vocals and audience connection first. Though with these wunderkins they are recruiting this year, I am not expecting much. I prefer a more mature voice to a kid voice. Bieber’s voice or Taylor Swifts voice doesn’t appeal to me at all(though Bieber is much better vocalist than Taylor)

  45. I really wish Idol would have really changed the voting. limit to 10 per line. That would have really improved the shows credibility because most of the big issues with Idol have come from perceived or actual voting irregularities

  46. That would have really improved the shows credibility because most of the big issues with Idol have come from perceived or actual voting irregularities

    Really? I think that’s a “big issue” only for certain uber-invested fans of some or other contestant that didn’t win. The overwhelming majority just move on and frankly forget about Idol until the next season.

  47. Well how about we just get rid of musical accompaniment altogether and have them sing acapella? Get rid of the backup singers too, since a lot of singers hide in front of them. Ban walking around with the mic stand. Heck get rid of it altogether.

    I was one who cheered when they decided to allow the contestants to play instruments. It makes the show more interesting. I don’t consider those who accompany themselves are hiding, nor does it give them an unfair advantage. I’ve loved some who just sang and I’ve loved some who could sing and play.

    Oh, I have to say this. The cameraman does not run the follow spot. That’s the follow spot operator’s job.

  48. I agree with Nigel. It should be about the voice and the performance, not about the instrument they’re playing. The instrument is distracting.

  49. YES NIGEL YES! :) No guitars every week!! Once or twice fine but not every week!!!

  50. Quite true, TwigLA, poor choice of phrase -.how about a camera man who can follow a follow spot? ;)

    I admire all these ideas to level the playing field – but actually, considering how many votes are cast because someone is just so cute – maybe looks are an unfair advantage too – and the cast ought to sing from behind a curtain? Sure would make the Finale eventful. Finally get to see who one voted for. If one voted at all./End Snark.

    Two thoughts – Instruments came on Board in Season 7 – Nigel’s last year, at the time – it would be ironic if that was his idea, since he is now very busy explaining away the decisions made when he wasn’t even there – in Seasons 8 & 9. Although I doubt it – he would have taken the credit at the time…don’t think he did. Poor fellow, I almost feel badly for him. Almost. Then he goes all patronizing and hypocritical – and even the ‘almost’ goes away.

    The other has been posted several different ways, but Hope07said it the closest to what I’m thinking. I want to know what the contestant knows – not what they were told to do – “who has the savvy and wherewithall to figure out the strategic moments when either accompanying themselves,….. or just simply sitting on a stool, is the best way to connect and show what they can do.” There’s enough manipulation, already.

    Stuffing the use of instruments back in the bottle because TPTB flooded the market last year is insulting, to the audience, the voters, AND to the performers, IMO. We didn’t pick them – the producers did. Be refreshing if TPTB said “Yeah, we screwed up, picking the Top24 last year.” They did screw up, but – Never gonna happen. Gotta blame it on the voters, or them damn guitars. Also.Quotas are useless, if the artist has no idea how long they will stay, or what all the theme weeks and song choices will be, or even if they will get their choice – how could they judge when to use them in advance?

    If you like someone who plays an instrument, vote for them. If you think they’re hiding behind that instrument, vote for someone else. It’s as simple as that.

    I guess that’s just too simple.

    Ah well.

  51. I really feel that vocals matter most on Idol.

    Nawwwww. If that were the case Melinda would have won S6 hands down, and probably Elliot in S5 too.

    If AI does limit instruments, and it certainly looks like they will, I really hope it’s an overall season limit and not Nigel deciding which weeks they can and can’t be used. That would give the contestants the opportunity to make artisticly driven choices about when and how to utilize instruments in their performances rather than just giving the producers another tool to manipulate the show by allowing/disallowing instruments in weeks it benefits their favorites (and you so know that is what will happen).

  52. I think that someone should be allowed to use intruments if they want. If that’s the kind of artist they are, they should be allowed to show that on the show. I agree that there were too many of the same type on the show last year, but that’s not the fault of the contestants.

    What allowing instruments to the show was that that more experienced musicians and songwriters started to come on the show, who were more defined as artists, and were able to show this through their covers. They could do this without necessarily playing instruments, but again, if that’s what they want to do, they should be allowed. Daughtry was able to show this without playing instruments on the show. And David Cook and Kris didn’t play them every week.

    I do kind of think that the best thing to do is not allowing instruments during the first rounds of Hollywood week. This would make sure that the contestant had better vocals and performance skills. And then allow them to play in the final round if they want so the judges can see what they’re really like.

    A lot of the singers I like play instruments, and I think if it is done right, it can add to a performance.

  53. I love singers playing instruments. I find THAT thrilling and amazing! And singers who play instruments singing without them now and then!

  54. Elliegrll:
    11/08/2010 at 5:56 pm
    I don’t think a lot of the season 9 people grew, but I also don’t think that taking away their instruments would have spurred them into making changes. At the start of the top 12, Jim Cantiello reported that all the contestants knew that they needed to improve, so it’s not like they were blind to the problems, they just decided not to do anything about them.

    I remember interviews early on in the season that said that they knew last seasons contestants were less experienced. One was with Debra Byrd and Rickey Minor, and said that in the previous couple of years (meaning 7 and 8), they had contestants that knew what they wanted to sing and how they were going to sing it, but this year (meaning season 9), they were less experienced, and would grow as the season went on. I think that the producers didn’t want an early frontrunner as we had seen in the previous seasons, and so they cast less experienced contestants, and figured someone would grow and emerge as a star, but it didn’t happen to the extent that they thought. From viewers point of view, they weren’t as good as what we had seen in the past.

    I think a problem last season also was lack of versatility, too. I think that is important for this type of show. And I think confidence was a problem too. Actually, maybe the problem was some contestants didn’t have confidence, and looked like a deer in the headlights, but some were overconfident, and thought they didn’t have to grow.

    I don’t think taking instruments would have helped last year either. Probably would have made things worse.

  55. I’m not sure, either about Jimmy Iovino being so involved. It could be helpful, but it could also mean they are going to mold someone into who they want as a pop star.

  56. I also want the focus to be on singing, but using an instrument occasionally would be fine. The key is to find 24 talented individuals with great vocals.

    I will miss the specific themes and mentors. It was a challenge for many of the contestants and produced some of Idol’s best moments. I am fearful of the producer as mentor angle because you just know Jimmy will have his favorites, and it won’t be for just one week that the contestants are with him For me, the mentors added excitement even though some weren’t successful. This sounds like it’s going to be very boring. I hope others will be brought in to work with them.

  57. I really think Siobhan made an attempt to do so with her outstanding performances of HOFRS, Think, and PIB. It helps if a contestant is encouraged to grow. Taylor Hicks, Blake Lewis, and others were unique. I cannot think of another female since Season 1 that was as unique as Siobhan was. I wish certain judges had encouraged her more. Some did find her visually and musically stimulating without playing an instrument.

    Honestly, I didn’t think Season 9 was as bad as some others do.

  58. Grammie Kari:

    I didn’t think it was that bad either. I think much of them have a lot of potiential.

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